Volvo DSTC Service Required: Causes and Fixes

DSTC stands for Dynamic Stability and Traction Control and is installed on Volvo vehicles. DSTC is an advanced safety feature crucial in providing Volvo vehicles with a secure and stable driving experience. It is designed to enhance vehicle stability and prevent loss of control during challenging driving conditions. 

However, in certain instances, the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system detects a problem with the DSTC, leading to the “DSTC Service Required” warning message. The implication is that the ECU has lost communication with DSTC, or the DSTC is temporarily switched off.

This article will explore the meaning of the DSTC Service Required warning message, its symptoms, causes, and recommended fixes or remedies to resolve the issue.

What is DSTC Service Required?

A “DSTC Service Required” warning message appears on the dashboard of a Volvo vehicle when the Dynamic Stability and Traction Control is unavailable or faulty. It shows there is a fault with the body sensor cluster. Also, the safety function monitors the speed of the wheels, steering angle, and sideways acceleration of the car to see if it might lose traction or stability. 

If the system notices anything strange or wrong, it sends a warning message and notifies the driver to fix the problem immediately. This system helps to prevent skidding and loss of control in slippery conditions.

Symptoms of the DSTC Service Required

Sometimes, the “DSTC Service Required” warning may be accompanied by noticeable symptoms that indicate DSTC problems. These symptoms can include:

Traction Control Activation

The Traction Activation system occurs when the vehicle traction control system is activated. This is usually done to prevent the wheels from spinning excessively and losing traction. 

When the system notices that a wheel is slipping or losing traction, it applies the brakes to the spinning wheel or lowers engine power to help the driver regain control and get better traction.

When the traction system is activated, it can be a sign that the DSTC requires attention. 

Loss of Stability

Another sign of an issue with the DSTC is experiencing a feeling of instability or difficulty maintaining control during cornering or sudden maneuvers. This can happen if the car suddenly sways, tilts, or goes off the road while driving normally.

ABS Warning Light

The ABS is a safety device that keeps the wheels from locking up when the brakes are applied hard. When the ABS warning light comes on, there may be a problem with the ABS.

In some vehicles, the DSTC system is integrated with the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). If there is a DSTC issue, the ABS warning light may also illuminate.

Causes of DSTC Service Required Warning

Several factors can contribute to the “DSTC Service Required” warning. Here are some common causes and their corresponding solutions:

Wheel Speed Sensor Issues

Wheel speed sensors are crucial components of the DSTC system as they provide data about individual wheel speeds to the control module. It means that the speed sensor monitors the speed of each wheel on a vehicle.  

A wheel speed sensor sends out electric signals based on how fast the wheel turns. If one or more sensors are faulty or dirty, it can trigger a warning. 

Common issues with the wheel speed sensors include:

  • Sensor damage
  • Sensor alignment
  • Wiring problems
  • Sensor contamination

Malfunctioning Steering Angle Sensor

The steering angle sensor is the yaw rate or steering position sensor. The monitoring steering angle sensor does the job of monitoring the vehicle’s direction and steering inputs. A malfunctioning sensor can disrupt the DSTC system. 

When the steering angle sensor malfunctions, it can cause the electronic control unit (ECU) in charge of stability control to get incorrect data. So, the vehicle’s stability control system might not react properly to changes in steering input, which could be dangerous.

The monitor may need to be properly diagnosed, calibrated, or replaced to fix the stability control system.

Faulty ABS System

Since the DSTC system is often integrated with the ABS, any issues with the ABS can trigger a warning message. Symptoms of a faulty ABS may include:

  • Illumination of ABS Warning Light
  • Unresponsive ABS System
  • Strange Noises, like grinding or buzzing sounds, during braking.
  • Irregular Brake Pedal Feel.

Proper diagnosis and repairs or component replacements may be necessary to restore the ABS’s proper function. 

Wiring or Electrical Connection Problems

A car’s electrical system comprises a network of wires, connectors, and other electrical parts that send power and information to different vehicle parts. The DSTC system relies on this network of wiring and electrical connections.

Some symptoms of wiring or electrical connection problems may include:

  • Illumination of warning lights
  • Intermittent malfunctions
  • Complete system failure

Control Module Malfunction

The DSTC control module is the system’s brain, processing data and sending commands to other components. Malfunctioning of the control may be due to electrical issues, overheating, software errors, or physical. 

The symptoms a malfunctioning control module would showcase may differ depending on the affected system. Some common signs include:

  • Illumination of warning lights 
  • Erratic behavior from the specific control module
  • Reduction in performance
  • Complete system failure

If the module malfunctions, it can lead to a warning message. The best way to fix such a problem is to have a technician thoroughly scan the vehicle’s computer system to identify the specific control module that requires attention.

Fixes for DSTC Service Required Warning Message

The right fix for the DSTC service required warning message will depend on what is diagnosed as the primary cause of the message. We recommend you carry out the following remedies if you get the error message.

Inspect the sensor and wiring

Inspecting the sensors and wiring related to the DSTC is the first step necessary for fixing the error message. Also, clean debris that could affect the sensor or wiring and replace all bad or worn-out components.

Restart the car

A computer glitch in the system may cause a warning message. We recommend turning off the car for a few minutes and starting it again. It should fix temporary glitches land reset the message.

Scan the vehicle for error codes

Most modern vehicles are equipped with an OBD II port. Using a scan tool, check for stored codes, which provide useful information about the causes affecting the DSTC system. Sometimes, you may get recommendations on how to fix the warning.

Inspect the brake system

Since the DSTC works directly with the ABS, the causes may sometimes be traced to the brake system. We recommend having a professional inspect the ABS Sensors and modules for faults and replacing them if found.

Seek professional help

If you cannot fix or diagnose the cause of the warning message, you should visit a professional mechanic. They are equipped with advanced tools and expert knowledge to diagnose and fix your car quickly.


The “DSTC Service Required” warning is a key sign that the Dynamic Stability and Traction Control system could be having problems. Fixing the problem fast ensures the vehicle’s handling and safety features work well. 

If you see this warning or have any of the symptoms that go with it, it’s best to get help from an expert mechanic or an authorized dealership. Regular maintenance and timely DSTC service will help keep your vehicle’s safety systems in top condition, providing peace of mind and a secure driving experience.

  • Edmond Davis

    I'm Edmond Davis, an automotive expert with years of experience in vehicle repair, performance, and safety. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Automotive Engineering and have worked with major companies like Ford, GM, and Chrysler. I'm a trusted source of information for anyone looking to learn more about cars or improve their driving experience.

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